A pool of mystery…

Some say it is a sacred site that was used by druid for ritual offerings.
Some say the famous author Agatha Christie visited the surroundings during her mysterious 11-day disappearance in 1926.
Some say the ghost of a drowned maiden still haunts the lake nowadays…

One thing’s for sure : it casts a spell on you.
Located in the North Downs area of Surrey, a few miles east of Guildford, Silent Pool is a large, half-natural lake very famous for its crystal clear water…and its silence.
I’m not lying, see for yourself!

Silent Pool - crystal clear water

The lake is surrounded by very old box trees (Buxus sempervirens)still flowering in the late November sun.

Old box P1120597 (Copier)

The lake is fed on one end by a spring (hence the very clear water), and wet rocks where the water bubbles are a favorite habitat for mosses and ferns like this Hart’s Tongue Fern, Asplenium scolopendrium.

Asplenium scolopendrium

Behind the lake, I was surprised to discover a neat vineyard. As some of you might know, the chalky hills of Surrey are very similar to the Champagne area of France. The first to realize this was a businessman from Dorking who founded the now-very-famous Denbies Estate in the eighties. Albury Vineyard is one of the much more recent attempts at producing wine in England. It was first harvested in 2011, and I wouldn’t mind tasting it. With all that sun, it can’t be a bad beverage!

Albury Vineyard

Like many ponds in the UK, Silent Pool is now infested by the invasive New Zealand pigmyweed (Crassula helmsii – top of the picture). Introduced in the UK as an aquarium plant in 1911, it has spread badly and forms dense mats which prevent native aquatic plants from growing and deplete the water from oxygen, leading to the death of many animals.
It is frost-resistant, shade-resistant, dessication-resistant and not grazed by any native animal, therefore it is very difficult to eliminate once it has settled somewhere!

Surrey Wildlife Trust is now trying to control the expansion of the weed to other sites by removing the plant manually or treating it with herbicides (this may sound like a very aggressive option as it can kill other plants too, but it’s actually the only efficient way to deal with pygmyweed).

crassula helmsii

They have also been reports of more frequent dry-ups of the pond, but not this year, thanks to the oh-so-wet summer! I’ve heard some wild swimming enthusiasts enjoy its clear water in summer, why not!

Silent Pool is a certainly a nice and mysterious place to discover if you happen to be near Guildford…who knows, you might even encounter the maiden ghost!😉

Surrey Wildlife Trust : Silent Pool

Silent Pool bridge

About Sophie

Qui suis-je? Who am I? Wer bin Ich? A biologist crazy about everything that lives on earth, under water and in the air. Loving plants, gardening, music, diving and travelling. Currently rescuing threatened garden plants at Plant Heritage (NCCPG).
This entry was posted in Nature wanders and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A pool of mystery…

  1. Finn Holding says:

    What a lovely spot. I hope they succeed in getting rid of the pygmy weed and reestablishng a native ecosystem. It’s another very good example of why we humans should be careful about what we release.

    PS If you ever taste the Surrey Chardonnay let us know if it’s as good as its French progenitor!

    • Sophie says:

      I hope they succeed too! According to the last ranger notes, they wanted to use a chemical called dichlobenil, but it has been banned in the UK, so they now use the infamous Roundup instead.
      It works, but applying pesticides on aquatic plants requires the water level to be low, otherwise it just gets diluted and has little effect…as it has been raining quite a lot this year, they have to pump water out of the pond. It sounds extreme, but it’s the only way to prevent the pygmyweed from invading nearby waterways.

      I tried Denbies white wine – it is surprisingly good, although a bit too dry to my taste!

  2. Emily Heath says:

    Looks magical, I wouldn’t mind disappearing there for eleven days or so.

  3. Rachel says:

    @Emily – me neither….

  4. staceym says:

    Hey sophie, not sure if you would be interested but I mentioned you in this post🙂

    http://zoostudent.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/my-first-patch-league-competition/

  5. PK Read says:

    Always enjoy your photos and comments so much – gorgeous!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s